Are Glaucoma Patients Overrating Their Skills with Eye Drops?

July 8, 2009

In a study published in the July issue of Archives of Ophthalmology, researchers reported that less than one-third of patients who professed to be skilled in eye drop administration were actually administering the medication properly.  At the beginning of the study, over ninety-two percent of the patients participating in this study felt confident in their skills.

This was a prospective, open-label study with 139 enrollees who had either ocular hypertension or glaucoma. The patients answered questions about their eye drops usage, and a video was created to document the patient’s administration of eye drops with two different types of eye drop bottles.  Only about twenty-one percent of the participants were able to successfully place the eye drops without touching the eye structures with a 15 mL bottle and almost thirty percent were able to do so with a 2.5 mL bottle.

This is not really a surprise to anyone who has patients with glaucoma in his/her practice but it is nice to have some documentation published about this problem. Ophthalmologists should use this study as a reminder that we should work with our patients who are on eye drops and perhaps a refresher course on eye drop administration in the office would not be a bad idea.

Read the abstract and full-text article here (login required) in Archive of Ophthalmology.




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